Lake Fork Trail is a beautiful and gentle trail that winds alongside Lake Fork Creek, a lovely tributary of the mighty South Platte River. The trail moves forward through Clear Creek Canyon in the Rocky Mountains up to the lovely open meadows.
Lake Fork Trail features scenic views to complement this amazing hike close to nature and wildlife.
Hiking the National Recreation Trail
Designated as National Recreation Trail in 1979, Lake Fork Trail has since become a popular recreation spot for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. It is a 3.7 mile long (one way), easy and moderately trafficked, out and back trail located near South Fork that climbs an elevation of 1,010 feet.
Lake Fork National Recreation Trail begins at the Lake Fork Trailhead and Parking Area at US Highway 160 and at the intersection with Tie Hill Trail. The path, however, continues until it meets Highline Trail in an unmaintained walkway.
National Recreation Trail Route
The trail is short and very well marked making it really easy to follow. From the trailhead, the trail moves forward in the northwest direction as it climbs the rocky Lake Fork Canyon through an Aspen-covered forest. On the left side of the Lake Fork Trail at the beginning of the hike is Shaw Lake.
As you continue your hike, the climb eases as the trail also flattens in a terrain-filled Douglas Firs. Onwards, the landscape slowly changes into an open meadow until it intersects the Tie Hill Trail or Forest Trail #835 on the northwestern end. To complete the hike, simply retrace your steps back to Lake Fork Trail NRT Trailhead.
Panoramic views of Table Mountain are a sight to behold at the open part of Lake Fork National Recreation Trail. In most sections, Lake Fork Creek flows just a few feet from the trail making it very convenient if you will bring your pet dog. The sound and sight of the creek also add to the natural rural ambiance of the trail.
Be informed that the trail does not allow any form of motorized vehicles. The Trailhead Area does not have water fountains so bring plenty of water to keep you hydrated for the whole hike duration. Also, the trail is not paved, so come with your hiking boots and wear appropriate and adequate outdoor clothing.
Lake Fork Trail NRT does not have entry and parking fees and it is best used from late March to October.
From South Fork – Follow US Highway 160 West toward Pagosa Springs for 10 miles to the Lake Fork Trailhead and Parking Area. There is a developed Rest Area there.
Address: South Fork, CO
Season: May – October
Map: fs.usda.gov/… (PDF)